Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.


Pukeko in a Ponga Tree

Tonight’s dinner was interrupted when the spontaneous singing of “A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree” foundered on the eighth day of Christmas – seven eels a swimming and nine sacks of pipis but eight what? The answer of course is “Eight plants of puha”.

Now for those of you who don’t know what this is all about, back in 1981 Archdeacon Sir Kingi (Matu) Ihaka (Interpreter, Anglican priest, broadcaster, songwriter, Maori language commissioner) adapted the traditional Christmas song to have a more New Zealand feel to it.

You can get the full lyrics and mini biography of Kingi Ihaka at NZ Folk Song * A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree.

In the process of looking up the lyrics I came across Mama Lisa’s World Blog – “Conversations about the languages and cultures of the world, especially the songs and traditions of children”. If you go to this link you can get not only the lyrics to the Pukeko song but also notes on what some of the different things listed are. Currently the blog is listing Advent songs and poems from around the world.

Photos and other information about the said bird at Fish and Game New Zealand – Pukeko.

1 Comment

  1. Tim

    I suppose that nowadays the Puha would be have to be electrified?
    Oh, no, naughty thought, the song was written in the 80s!

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